July 19, 2019
Lindsey Lynch M.Ed. ’19, originally from Rochester, N.Y., was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Student in Education. This honor is especially noteworthy given the unique challenges she faced studying, student teaching and taking certification exams from her current home in Saudi Arabia. Lynch earned her M.Ed. and Teacher Certification in Elementary Education K-6, and will be a preschool teacher in the Saudi Aramco Expatriate School in Dhahran beginning this fall.
Dr. Jennie Brown, Interim Dean of the College at Rindge, said, “Lindsey has met and exceeded the standards of excellence of the Master of Education program. The organization, due diligence and dedication she has shown to achieve at such a high level is an inspiration to faculty, staff and her fellow students.”
Education for a career change
Lynch was looking for a change when she and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia six years ago. She had spent 10 years in a career in internal audit management with a grueling international travel schedule. “After ten years of working 12-hour days all over the world, and waking up in hotel rooms to pinging emails, it brought me no joy,” she said.
She and her husband jumped at an opportunity to move to the Middle East with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO). It meant a lifestyle change for both of them, but especially for Lindsey as her prospects for employment as a woman in Saudi Arabia were extremely limited at that time. They were also expecting their first child.
Lynch has always found time to volunteer in local schools in the communities where she’s lived. Soon after her daughter was born, Lindsey was volunteering and eventually substitute teaching in the Saudi Aramco school that serves a diverse international community.
Online degree from a world away
When Lynch began to explore graduate study, she discovered it wasn’t easy to find a program where she could earn her Master’s in Education and teaching credential while located in Saudi Arabia. At Franklin Pierce, she found the online program allowed her the flexibility to be certified in NH while doing her student teaching and exams where she lived.
The Franklin Pierce program was challenging. With the arrival of a second child, a substitute teaching schedule, online classes, classroom observations and a 7-hour time difference to juggle, Lynch earned her degree over three and a half years. She had to be resourceful – women couldn’t drive in Saudi Arabia then, so she had to rely on taxis to get to testing sites for her certification exams. Two of her exams required her to travel to testing facilities in India.
Equipped for 21st century teaching
Lynch especially enjoyed her classes in the foundations of reading and teaching students with disabilities. She appreciated the high standards and deep experience of her professors. Group projects gave her opportunities to practice the 21st century learning skills she will be teaching her own students.
Lynch observes that the attitudes of Saudi society are very different toward individuals with special needs, who are more likely to be segregated or institutionalized. “This is changing though. Even recently, we’re seeing some beautiful festivals where organizations are rising up to affirm that all students have a right to learn no matter who you are, or where you’re from.”
Lynch is excited to have her own classroom in the fall of 2019. Her own children are proud to see her in the hallways of their school, and her husband is struck by the energy she has for her new work. “The joy is back!” she says with conviction.
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